It is with profound sadness and loss that I write to let you know of the passing of Liz Young, Co-Chair of LACHSA’s Visual Arts Department. After a brief struggle with cancer, she passed peacefully with a friend by her side. Liz has been a member of the LACHSA family for over twenty years, serving as teacher, leader, mentor, friend, and inspiration to her students, alumni, faculty, and all who knew her. Her loss will be deeply felt in our community for years to come.
Liz Young was an exceptional artist and teacher. Her work explored concepts such as beauty, the inevitability of decay, and the fragility of life. Her work was exhibited throughout the United States and Europe, including solo shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (including work in their permanent collection) and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), among others, and has been featured in ARTnews, Artforum, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Village Voice. In 2016, Young received a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and was recognized with awards from the Getty Trust and Andy Warhol Foundation, among others. Her profound and beautiful work can be seen at her website, www.lizyoungproduce.com, and more extensive biographies can be found at the Guggenheim Fellows site: Guggenheim and Wikipedia.
Liz’s work often incorporated and explored passages of text, and as I was looking through a series of prints on her website, I was struck by a piece featuring William Wordsworth’s “Splendour in the Grass” rendered in gunpowder:
What through the radiance which was once so bright Be now forever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower, We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind; In the primal sympathy Which having been must ever be; In the soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering; In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.
As the coming days turn into weeks and months and years, my strength will be in what remains behind of Liz: her love for her students and for LACHSA, her compassion, and her infectious smile and upbeat, contagious energy. She will be missed by us all, but never forgotten.
LACHSA provides multiple supports for families and students experiencing strong feelings of grief, loss, and sadness. For immediate help, please contact School Psychologist Marion Candia (Candia_Marion@lacoe.edu or (714) 393-4812), who can provide direct counseling or a referral to other professional supports.
Note: All of Liz’s classes have LACHSA arts instructors assigned to teach her students through the end of spring term.